[Criteria: Fighter theoretically enters weight category of choice]
SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHTS 168 lbs: p1 Joe Calzaghe p4 Roy Jones junior p6 Andre Ward p6 James Toney p7 Steve Collins p8 Chris Eubank p9 Nigel Benn p10 Mikkel Kessler p11 Sven Ottke p12 Park Chong-pal
[8.9] JOE CALZAGHE 46-46(32)-0-0: [Light Heavyweight & Super-Middleweight] mikiex online - Daily Telegraph - Max Boxing online - Philly online - Encyclopaedia Britannica - Joe Calzaghe: Sporting Triumph TV - Mr Calzaghe 2015 - Ring online -
The problem with Calzaghe is he runs out of steam; you can clearly see he throws 500 punches in the first round, and his work-rate is down in the 12th to 499. mikiex Youtube comment
Calzaghe earns plaudits from past champions: Joe Calzaghe received universal recognition from boxing luminaries yesterday on the ninth anniversary of his victory over Chris Eubank at the Sheffield Arena for the vacant World Boxing Organisation world super-middleweight …
A record 18 defences have followed and, in March this year, in his most recent fight, Calzaghe unified the WBO and International Boxing Federation titles with a stunning performance against Jeff Lacy, who was vaunted Stateside as the next great pound-for-pounder in the division.
In a career-defining display, Calzaghe sent Lacy home to think again, and propelled himself to the No 1 ranking in every corner of the boxing world. Daily Telegraph article 11th October 1997 Gareth A Davies
Joe Calzaghe, 46-0 (32) – Early on, Calzaghe’s career seems cursed by injury and poor timing that caused big fights to fall out but he proved his worth late, besting Hall-of-Famers Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones. A superb boxer whose only real rival at the weight during his prime was German Sven Ottke. One has the feeling that Calzaghe’s edge in power could have been the deciding factor in a mythical Calzaghe – Ottke matchup. Too bad Calzaghe never got a chance to face Steve Collins, whose vacated title he won; it remains the only scalp to elude the Welshman. Just another case of early missed opportunity, I suppose, and Calzaghe otherwise did his best to get credible opposition in the ring. Showed he was the best of his era – and as it turned out ever – by defeating the divergent styles of Mikkel Kessler, Chris Eubank, Mario Veit and Jeff Lacy. Along with Ottke, is one of the few boxers to ever retire as an undefeated champion. It took the Hopkins and Jones wins at light heavyweight for America to recognize Calzaghe for what he was: the best ever at super-middleweight! Max Boxing online
If this was indeed his final fight, 36-year-old Joe Calzaghe left his fans on their feet begging for more. The popular Welshman overcame a first-round knockdown to beat Roy Jones junior in a bloody unanimous decision last night, delighting a raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden in what Calzaghe claims will be his final bout. There is little left for him to prove after reigning as super-middleweight champion for more than a decade, unifying the division, defeating Philadelphia’s Bernard Hopkins, and now felling Jones (52-5). Philly online article
In 1993 Calzaghe turned professional and won his first match. Under the management of Mickey Duff and Terry Lawless, he continued to defeat his opponents but never fought in a world championship bout. Displeased with his management, in 1996 he switched to Frank Warren’s Sports Network, and in 1997 he defeated Chris Eubank to win the World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight championship. He went on to win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title in 2006.
In April 2007 Calzaghe fought Peter Manfredo junior the runner-up on the American reality television boxing show The Contender. Calzaghe won the match easily in front of a crowd of 35,000, a record for an indoor boxing event in Europe. In November 2007 Calzaghe became the undisputed world champion when he won a decision over Danish boxer Mikkel Kessler, adding Kessler’s World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) titles to his own WBO and IBF championships. Calzaghe made his American debut in April 2008, winning a split decision over former undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins. In November 2008 he won a unanimous decision over American Roy Jones junior, a former world champion in four weight classes, leading many boxing observers to proclaim Calzaghe the greatest Welsh boxer of all time. Calzaghe retired in February 2009 with an undefeated record in 46 career bouts, including 32 victories by knockout. In 2014 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Encyclopaedia Britannica
v Chris Eubank: WBO Super-Middleweight 11th October 1997: ‘I dropped him in the first round; such a great shot.’ Joe Calzaghe: Sporting Triumphs
I went hitchhiking all over Europe and I ended up in Cardiff, Wales. Mr Calzaghe ***** Calzaghe senior, 2015
I remember walking in and just the smell of the gym, and the sweat and these big guys, the noise on the bags, ’cause the bags were swinging round and I was nervous … It was always freezing cold and dusty and dirty.’ ibid. Joe
He knew how good he was. He knew. ibid. Calzaghe senior
Boxing was my way of escaping. ibid. Joe
He’s so sensitive. It’s unbelievable. ibid. sister
Three titles in a row at different weights. ibid. Harry Carpenter’s ABA commentary
October 1st 1993: First professional fight. ibid. caption
A lot of boxing writers have picked as a tip for the top. ibid. UK fight commentary fourth fight
People don’t realise how good I am. ibid. Joe’s after-match interview 22-0
His style of boxing was unique. ibid. Calzaghe senior
Just magical … A man danced with another man like he’d been blessed, like something was shining on him … One of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen live. ibid. Gather A Davies, journalist, re Lacy
That [Calzaghe senior] he was able to do that as his trainer was remarkable. ibid. Steve Farhood, boxing writer & historian
He could adapt his boxing style. ibid. Kessler
I’ll never let a white boy beat me. ibid. Hopkins
It’s been 10 years since Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler faced off in one of the biggest super-middleweight title fights in boxing history.
Two unbeaten world champions put their respective belts on the line on a pleasant fall evening at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, in front of 50,000 fans.
Calzaghe (43-0, 32 knockouts) had held the WBO strap for a decade and made an incredible 20 defenses. The quick-fisted Welshman had silenced all remaining critics when he added the Ring and IBF belts to his collection by thrashing Jeff Lacy in March 2006.
The fearsome Kessler (39-0, 29 KOs) won the WBA belt three years earlier. He made two successful defenses before unifying the WBC title with a third-round knockout of German southpaw Marcus Beyer. The Danish boxer-puncher wasn’t as quick as Calzaghe, but he was talented and a big puncher.
‘It’s a fight I really wanted,’ Calzaghe told RingTV.com from his gym in Abercarn. ‘I think [promoter] Frank [Warren] was struggling to get the fight. As you can imagine, it’s hard to get two undefeated world champions in the ring together.
‘I was willing to go to Denmark because Frank wasn’t sure if Mikkel would come to Cardiff. That was a risk I was willing to take. I’d beaten [Jeff] Lacy. I’d had all the plaudits, the euphoria of winning a unification fight after all the people doubted me.
‘I just let it be known to Frank that (I wasn’t) interested in any other super-middleweight except Mikkel Kessler. Me and him are head and shoulders above every other super-middleweight in the world.’
When Calzaghe entered camp, he was 36 pounds over the 168-pound limit. The inevitable move to light-heavyweight was imminent, but there was one last super-middleweight battle to prepare for.
A consummate professional, Calzaghe managed to whip himself into shape during a rigorous 14-week training camp, overseen by his father and trainer, Enzo.
He sparred then-WBO cruiserweight beltholder Enzo Maccarinelli and future light-heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly, as well as a host of up-and-coming Welsh talent.
Kessler had also worked hard at home in Denmark before decamping to Wales a week before the fight. The visitor and his team rented a house in the countryside, commuting back and forth from the city center for various media obligations.
‘It was one of my biggest fights because we were both undefeated,’ Kessler said. ‘I was feeling very good, (but) I had a hand injury three weeks before the fight in sparring. The problem was they didn’t know what was wrong. I had it X-rayed and nothing showed up.
‘I just had to put the gloves down and shadowbox for the last three weeks. I really think I was in the best shape of my life for that fight. I had four-and-half percent body fat.’
Calzaghe didn’t have a game plan for Kessler, or for anyone else for that matter. He let opponents worry about him.
‘I never did anything for any boxer,’ he said. ‘I just have a vision in my mind, what they’re going to box like, and (then I) do my own thing.